This chocolate cake, made with buttermilk and oil — no butter — and exclusively cocoa — no melted chocolate — is incredibly light and moist and stays this way for days. It’s an Ina Garten recipe, one she begged for from a friend, the grandson of Beatty, after taking one bite. It has become a family favorite — a real crowd pleaser with adults and children alike.

This chocolate cake, made with buttermilk and oil — no butter — and exclusively cocoa — no melted chocolate — is incredibly light and moist and stays this way — tasting freshly baked — for days. It's another Ina Garten recipe, one she begged for from a friend, the grandson of Beatty, after taking one bite. // alexandracooks.com

Earlier this month, upon realizing that I had officially become my mother, not only in my preferences, but also in how I impose my preferences on others — dark meat chicken, cakes without frosting — I decided it might be wise to branch out a bit, to bake a cake with not one but two layers and to guild it not with a delicate dusting of powdered sugar but with a slathering of silky frosting.

It was a healthy exercise. You see, I didn’t know that frosting — chocolate buttercream in this case — has the ability to silence a table surrounded by both toddlers and adults and afterward to elicit unprompted comments such as: “You are such a good cooker.” This cake, made with buttermilk and oil — no butter — and exclusively cocoa — no melted chocolate — is incredibly light and moist and stays this way — tasting freshly baked — for days. It’s another Ina Garten recipe, one she begged for from a friend, the grandson of Beatty, after taking one bite.

I’m so happy I branched out. Because while I am completely embracing that I am my mother’s daughter, adoring almond tortes and torta capreses, I understand there is a time and a place for layers of cake and frosting. A silent table is always (or almost always) a sign of success.

This chocolate cake, made with buttermilk and oil — no butter — and exclusively cocoa — no melted chocolate — is incredibly light and moist and stays this way — tasting freshly baked — for days. It's another Ina Garten recipe, one she begged for from a friend, the grandson of Beatty, after taking one bite. // alexandracooks.com

How to Make Beatty’s Chocolate Cake, Step by Step

First, sift the dry ingredients together: flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt:

sifting

Next combine the wet ingredients: buttermilk, oil, eggs, vanilla, coffee:

wet ingredients

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine.

batter

How to Make a Parchment Paper Circle Cake Bottom:

Transfer the batter to two buttered and parchment-paper-lined baking dishes.

ready for the oven

Bake until done.

chocolate cakes cooling
cakes cooling

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream:

making the frosting
chocolate frosting

Frost the cake by spreading just under half of the frosting over one layer. Top with the other layer; then spread the remaining frosting over the cake and on the sides.

frosting the cake
This chocolate cake, made with buttermilk and oil — no butter — and exclusively cocoa — no melted chocolate — is incredibly light and moist and stays this way — tasting freshly baked — for days. It's another Ina Garten recipe, one she begged for from a friend, the grandson of Beatty, after taking one bite. // alexandracooks.com
This chocolate cake, made with buttermilk and oil — no butter — and exclusively cocoa — no melted chocolate — is incredibly light and moist and stays this way — tasting freshly baked — for days. It's another Ina Garten recipe, one she begged for from a friend, the grandson of Beatty, after taking one bite. // alexandracooks.com
Beatty's Chocolate Cake
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Beatty’s Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream


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Description

Adapted from: Barefoot Contessa at Home

This chocolate cake, made with buttermilk and oil — no butter — and exclusively cocoa — no melted chocolate — is incredibly light and moist and stays this way for days. It’s an Ina Garten recipe, one she begged for from a friend, the grandson of Beatty, after taking one bite. It has become a family favorite — a real crowd pleaser with adults and children alike.

A few notes: 

  • Ina uses the stand mixer, but I find it works great just by mixing with a whisk and spatula.
  • I now make this in one bowl: whisk together the dry ingredients; then add the wet one by one, being sure I beat the eggs prior to adding them to the bowl. 
  • I’ve added weight measurements, because that’s how I prefer to bake. 
  • The original frosting recipe calls for a raw egg yolk, but I omit it and don’t notice a difference. 

 


Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • Butter, for greasing the pans
  • 1 3/4 cups (225 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups (418 g) sugar
  • 3/4 cups (66 g) good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (225 g) buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup (108 g) vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs (98 g) at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

For the Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (Ina recommends Callebaut.)
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups (152 g) sifted confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then flour the pans.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add the coffee and stir just to combine. Batter will be really thin. Pour the batter — if you feel like being really precise, pour about 690g of batter into each pan — into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  3. To make the frosting: Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature. Alternatively: Melt in the microwave at 30 second to 1-minute intervals until spreadable.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. On low speed, add the chocolate to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip. Spread immediately on the cooled cake.
  5. Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Mix
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Beatty’s, chocolate, cake, buttercream